“But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:9 (NIV)
Our good friend, Todd Wilhelm, published Thabiti Anyabwile and The Mahaney Conversation We’re Still Not Having. He has given us permission to reprint his posts, either in full or part. As many of you may know, Todd used to attend a Sovereign Grace Church in Gilbert, Arizona before he used to attend UCC Dubai, a 9Marks church. His views on both 9Marks and SGM are helpful to those of us who have not had direct experiences with these entities. Todd is a stalwart supporter of those who have been hurt by SGM, either by sex abuse or ministry practices.
In the following excerpt, Todd notices something that Thabiti *forgot* to mention in a post he wrote on sex abuse.
When does Thabiti's finger pointing turn towards his buddies?
Thabiti Anyabwile has written an excellent article titled “The Cosby Conversation We’re Still Not Having.” Anyabwile addresses the well-known Bill Cosby sexual abuse scandal and says the Cosby case should have driven a national conversation about sexual abuse but this conversation has not taken place. Anyabwile states:
“We seem to have forgotten the society-wide need to protect our daughters, sisters and wives against the predations of men…
What we are not discussing is how to prevent the many Cosbys in our homes, families, friendship networks, schools and churches from preying upon our daughters, sisters, and mothers…
There are many working in the trenches, but comparatively their numbers are few. And I suspect far too few churches lend their voices to this cause. We are complicit in our silence…
We can significantly impact the safety and well-being of women by breaking our silence, speaking against violence, abuse and sexual entitlement, and insisting on the prosecution of offenders. We must speak up if we ever hope to end this scourge.”
To which I reply, Amen brother, preach it!
Anyabwile ends saying:
“Sitting a couple seats from my wife and teenage girls, I kept thinking, I will fight. I will fight. I will fight for the black girls in my home, in my community, and around the world. Let’s fight for them together.”
I’m with you Pastor Anyabwile; I would only add that I will fight for girls of all colors and also for the boys that many pedophiles victimize.
The problem, as I see it, is there is a very real disconnect between Anyabwile’s call to action and his action. Do you recall a similar “call to action” by Dr. Mohler in 2011? Allow me to refresh your memory:
“A Christian hearing a report of sexual abuse within a church, Christian organization, or Christian school, needs to act in exactly the same manner called for if the abuse is reported in any other context. The church and Christian organizations must not become safe places for abusers. These must be safe places for children, and for all. Any report of sexual abuse must lead immediately to action. That action cannot fall short of contacting law enforcement authorities. A clear lesson of the Penn State scandal is this: Internal reporting is simply not enough.” -Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., The Tragic Lessons of Penn State – A Call To Action” November 10, 2011
This all sounds great, but we have seen both men’s words are meaningless in light of their continuing support for C.J. Mahaney.
Does Thabiti endorse CJ Mahaney by his actions?
Todd Wilhelm points out a real problem in Thabiti's essay. It is quite easy for us to point our fingers at public figures, rich actors, etc. However,Thabiti has been quite supportive of CJ Mahaney, choosing to disregard the numerous allegations of child sex abuse in that organization. I highly doubt that Thabiti has ever met with one of the families whose children were abused. However, he rarely misses an opportunity to hang with his BFFs.
In fact, Thabiti has made a concerted effort to speak at CJ Mahaney's church which sounds like an endorsement to me. Over at Todd's blog, you will see a few pictures like the one that is at the top of this post. Thabiti is tight with Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney, John Piper, Mark Dever and other celebrities who speak feelingly about sex abuse unless that chicken comes home to roost in the backyard of a BFF.
Why did Thabiti delete a comment by Todd and then block him from his website?
Todd, being a man of conviction, left the following comment on Thabiti's blog.
Thabiti did what all the manly, complementarian, brave, gospel™ BFFs do, he deleted it with no comment. Oh, and he has blocked Todd from commenting on his blog in the future. Such gospel™courage…
Rod Dreher writes about Steve Sitler and Doug Wilson by name.
Now, let's look at a man who actually discusses this issue and does so by calling Pastor Doug Wilson to account. Writing for The American Conservative, Rod Dreher looks at the Doug Wilson/pedophile situation in Scandal in Moscow.
He first reviewed the Sitler situation and quoted Doug Wilson directly.
Wilson defends his actions forcefully in this September 5 “open letter” on his blog. Excerpt:
Seventh, in the latest round of accusations, much has been made of the fact that Christ Church approved of Steven’s wedding to Katie through the fact that I officiated at the wedding. First, it should be noted that in our community, weddings are not arranged or determined by the church. Katie and her family had all the facts when she agreed to marry Steven, which was important, but the decision to marry was the couple’s decision, not ours. That said, I officiated at the wedding and was glad to do so. While we do not believe that marriage is an automatic “fix” for the temptations to molest children, we agree with Judge Stegner who approved the wedding and said that ‘an age-appropriate relationship with a member of the opposite sex from Mr. Sitler is one of the best things that can happen to him and to society” (emphasis added). Moreover, if everything is on the table, we do not believe the church has the authority to prohibit or “not allow” a lawful marriage.
Really? The church has no authority to prohibit a lawful marriage? I suppose same-sex couples in Idaho can show up at Christ Church and expect Pastor Wilson to marry them, then. This, and the claim that the church can’t withhold marriage from anybody, as long as both parties know what they’re getting into, is a pretty shameless example of passing the buck for a disaster. Wilson subsequently praised himself for the way he’s conducted himself in this matter, saying that persecution is a sign of his righteousness, and sneering that his wife celebrated the criticism coming their way by buying him a bottle of single-malt Scotch.
Shortly after this, Doug Wilson wrote a response to Dreher's post, accusing Dreher of
1. Not returning Wilson's email.
I did write an editor at The American Conservative yesterday to ask about space to respond. I haven’t heard back. I also wrote Rod to see if he were interested in any private communication. I haven’t heard back there either. For someone in his position, I believe that he should be heartily ashamed of himself. This was really bad.
2. Not doing any fact checking
The American Conservative does this hit piece, and clicks publish within a few hours of even hearing about the slander. No fact checking, no inquiries to find out if there were more to the story, no reasonable caution at all. If every word of these slanders were true — as they are manifestly not — this would simply be a case of Rod Dreher getting lucky.
However, Dreher is an accomplished writer. He called out Wilson again for both claims.
I have received no e-mail from Doug Wilson, neither at my TAC address, nor at my private address. Just so you know.
Second, who is Doug Wilson, of all people, to get mad at others on the Internet for not doing “due diligence” and fact-checking before writing about something? I filled my post with links to primary documents from the court record (including letters signed by Wilson), media reports, and statements on the matter from Wilson himself. For the sake of brevity in an already long post, I linked to a summary of the Jamin Wight case by a group called Homeschoolers Anonymous. I trust my readers to examine all of these links and judge for themselves.
He then proceeded to analyze Wilson's responses to those who critique him.
Wilson’s strategy, and those of some of his vocal supporters, is very familiar in the story of how religious figures and institutions handle sexual abuse: blame those who draw critical attention to him and his actions, get legalistic with Bible quotes in an attempt to get critics to be silent, question their motives, suggest implausible conspiracies, or flat-out say that the critics hate God.
He evidently believes that Wilson has much to answer for and that Wilson's flip of the bird at his critics is not smart.
Given all we know about pedophilia and pedophiles, and given that this wedding didn’t take place in the distant past, but in 2011, Wilson has a lot more to answer for than he thinks. Being cute on the Internet is not going to make the questions go away.
Who really cares about the issues surrounding pedophiles and sex abuse? Is it Thabiti Anyabwile who speaks of his concerns but studiously ignores the elephant in the Coalition of BFFs or Rod Dreher who says "Here it is. Look at it?" Sometimes, *name it and claim it* is necessary in order to deal with the horrors of sex abuse.